A timeless clique regarding politicians, as heard in old Brooklyn (before its current awful phase as a yuppie haven) minus several expletives goes something like this: "All dem bums are crooks". One would like to believe the statement is too general and find a diamond or two in the rough. In the present day of petty bipartisanship and corporate money that task appears quite daunting. Yet even in these times the question begs itself: Is there a bigger phony than Hillary Clinton?
Known in the eyes of many as liberalism’s standard bearer and vast right-wing conspiracy monger, Clinton is raising a truck load of money for her Senate reelection campaign, with her eyes on the ultimate White House prize, while doing all she can to prove that she’s no liberal. The past year has seen Clinton rail against video games, with her introducing, along with Joe Lieberman, the Family Entertainment Protection Act, and flag burning by co-sponsoring a bill to make flag burning a crime (or at least destroying a flag with "violent" intentions).
But it’s in the Middle East where Hillary is really trying to look presidential. First there was Iraq where she voted for the resolution in late 2002 authorizing Bush to launch the invasion and kept a consistent upper-lip not expressing an ounce of regret until December 2005 (coincidentally about the time public opinion about the war turned). Still she has spent the past six months dousing whatever momentum a few brave Democrats are able to muster regarding a time-table for American troop withdrawal while taking pot shots at the administration’s handling of the occupation.
Now Israel’s bombardment of Lebanon has afforded Clinton the chance to be an even more determined hawk. Since being criticized back in 2000 for kissing Arafat’s wife Suha, Clinton has taken every opportunity as senator to quell any doubters about where she stands regarding Israeli policy. Whether it has been in Jenin or Beirut Clinton has always been on point with emotional displays of solidarity. During the siege on Jenin in April 2002, where war crimes committed by the Israeli army were well documented by Human Rights Watch, Clinton co-signed a letter along with New York’s senior Senator Charles Schumer expressing dismay at the administration’s half-hearted calls for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian towns. Meanwhile a statement on her website regarding the current crisis reads:
The unprovoked attacks on innocent Israelis and the killing and abduction of Israeli soldiers by the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah are dramatic escalations of violence against Israel.
The United States must stand by Israel as she defends herself Hamas and Hezbollah must return the Israeli soldiers they abducted and cease their attacks against Israel.
A pro-Israel rally in New York on July 17th allowed Clinton to strut her hawkishness for the camera (and continue to ignore the thousands of Palestinians rotting in Israeli jails and the fact that just about all the dead bodies in Lebanon belong to civilians). She told an excited crowd that she supported Israel with "whatever steps are necessary" to "defend" herself and that "we will stand with Israel because Israel is standing for American values as well as Israeli ones" (she voiced a similar sentiment in May 2005 in a speech at an AIPAC conference when she lauded Israel not only as an ally, but also "a beacon of what democracy can and should mean"). While at the very least most of the international community talks of a cease fire and restraint, Clinton flexes her resolve from the safety of New York.
Clinton was joined at the rally by other New York politicians including State Attorney General hopefuls Andrew Cuomo and Mark Green- the latter referred to the captured three Israeli soldiers by saying "They are our soldiers also, they are our sons also". Of course they were joined by Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel who chimed in with "Israel defends herself, and we must say to Israel ‘Go on defending yourself’".
However of the above only Hillary Clinton later the same day attended a fundraiser in her honor hosted by none other than Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch hasn’t been the only big time player to donate to Clinton’s senatorial campaign. Itemized donations recently made public show that many brilliant socialites including Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez, Bette Midler, and Marla Maples among such others have contributed thousands of dollars. With this bizarre combination of conservative and Hollywood money is it any wonder Clinton has New York’s Senate seat wrapped up? For all the recent debate over the "Israeli lobby", it seems Hillary for one wants to assure that all the bases are covered.
According to early polls Clinton and her blood money machine have the edge for the Democratic nomination in 2008. One of the most striking qualities of much of the American Left is how quickly it been willing to give itself to "triangulating", unprincipled Democrats spouting conservative politics, and doing it all out of fear of conservative politicians. One boils at the thought that two years from now the same old "realists" will insist that another Clinton deserves unquestioned support while Hollywood money pours into her coffers and Palestine and Lebanon burn.
JOSEPH GROSSO is a librarian and writer living in New York City. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org